Foresters manage, improve and conserve public and private forested lands. They devise plans for forest regeneration and ensure that the lands are free from disease, insects and wildfires. Foresters also participate in forest fire suppression and timber harvesting to maintain minimum waste and eliminate environmental damage. They might also supervise other forestry workers.
Duties and responsibilities
- Select and prepare lands for harvesting
- Plan and monitor forest regeneration
- Keep lands free from disease, insects and wildfires
- Oversee or participate in controlled burning
- Use bulldozers or herbicides to clear land
- Participate in forest fire suppression
- Communicate with firefighters
- Engage in timber harvesting
- Supervise forest and conservation workers and technicians
- Analyse forest and soil quality
- Evaluate damage to tress and lands
- Log activities and manage data
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Extra hours on occasion
Foresters mainly work in offices, laboratories and outdoors. Due to exposure to bad weather conditions, bug bites, poisonous plants and other hazards like forest fires, foresters are required to wear protective gear such as a hard hat. Their work can be physically demanding as it involves walking long distances, bending, lifting and carrying through woods and wild forests.
Foresters may work alone when performing outdoor activities or they may work with the public when educating them about forestry. These individuals often work for the federal government (national parks), private landowners or social advocacy organisations.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in forestry or related field
Most foresters obtain a Bachelor of Forestry (BF) or similar degree in either agricultural science, rangeland management or environmental science. There are many individuals who also go on to gain a master’s degree in forestry, urban forestry, and natural resources and ecosystem management.
Some states require that foresters are licensed, while certification from organisations like the Society of American Foresters (SAF) shows a higher level of knowledge and professional competency.
Foresters have the opportunity to advance to managerial and supervisory positions. With higher qualifications, they also have the option of conducting research or working on policy issues. Some foresters choose to focus on conservation organisations or teach at colleges and universities.